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Arthur Zurabyan, of ART DE LEX, commented on the initiative to introduce criminal liability for falsifying evidence in the administrative process

The Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation proposed to extend the standards of the Criminal Code on evidence tampering to administrative court proceedings, including legal disputes with officials. The authors, both members of the United Russia, Vladimir Pligin and Dmitry Vyatkin, explained that they came forward with this initiative because the public has undervalued the danger of such violations.

The State Duma published a draft of the federal law to criminalize the falsification of evidence in administrative matters. Vladimir Pligin, head of the Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation, and Dmitry Vyatkin would like to expand Article 303 of the Criminal Code, which establishes liability for falsification in administrative disputes. The authors propose keeping the same penalty as for evidence tampering in criminal and civil cases: a fine of up to RUB 300,000 and correctional treatment of up to two years.

As an explanatory memorandum clarifies, the initiative is linked with the Code of Administrative Procedure that will be effective on 15 September. This document will regulate the procedure for considering cases that challenge normative legal acts and the actions of officials at all levels, including local authorities, as well as disputes about red tape, violations of the right to trial within a reasonable time, and judicial proceedings on court decisions.

The authors of the draft said that the current legislation “does not provide liability for the falsification of evidence in administrative matters.” Though, they add, such violations pose no less a danger to the public than the falsification of evidence in civil and criminal cases.

The government supported the project on the condition that its action also extends to the officials authorized to examine and draw up the protocols on administrative violations. According to Arthur Zurabyan, the head of the dispute resolution and mediation practice of ART DE LEX, the current draft does not include this provision. As a result, it would not apply to challenges of the actions and decisions of these officials and legal representatives.